As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 6


'We are nearer to him than his jugular vein' refers to the Angels of Allah

'We are nearer to him than his jugular vein' refers to the Angels of Allah and does not indicate that Allah is everywhere
Qur'aanic verses state that Allah, the Exalted is above His Arsh (Throne) in a manner that befits His Majesty and Glory. Allah says, 'Your Rabb (Lord) is Allah, Who created the Heavens and the earth in six days and then rose above His Arsh (Throne), He manages all things.' [Soorah Yunus (10): 3-4] Additional six verses of similar words are found in the Qur'aan. Numerous other verses in every Soorah also indicate the same, from amongst them are, 'He is irresistible, above His slaves, and He is the All-Wise, Well-Acquainted with all things.' [Soorah al-An'am (6): 18] 'To Him ascend (all) the good words, and the righteous deeds exalt them.' [Soorah Fatir (35): 10]
A number of Ahadeeth of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) also clearly prove that Allah, the Exalted, is above his Throne and not among His creation in essence; one amongst them is the report of Muawiyah Ibn al-Hakam (radhi allahu anhu), who said, 'I had a servant girl, who used to tend my sheep in the area of mount Uhud... One day, I came to see them only to find out that a wolf had made off with a sheep from her flock... (for which) ...I gave her a terrible slap in her face. When I came to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) with the story, he considered it to be a grave thing for me to have done so. I said, 'O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam), couldn't I free her?' He replied, 'Bring her to me.' So I brought her. He (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) then asked her, 'Where is Allah?' She replied, 'above the sky.' He (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) then asked her, 'Who am I?' and she replied, 'You are Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam).' So, the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said, 'Free her for she is a true believer.' [Saheeh Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol. 1, p.271-272, no.1094]

One might ask about the nearness of Allah mentioned in a number of Qur'aanic verses such as, 'He is with you, wherever you are...' [Soorah al-Hadid (57): 4] The nearness of Allah to His slaves in similar verses refers to His Absolute Knowledge, as is explained by Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) in his Tafseer of the above-mentioned verse. He says, 'meaning, He is Watching over you and Witnessing your deeds wherever you may be, on land or on sea, during the night or the day, at home or in open areas or deserts. All of that is the same before His Knowledge and all of it is under His Sight and Hearing. He hears your speech and sees wherever you are…' Thus, the nearness mentioned in the Qur'aanic verses is not by the Essence of Allah, but in Knowledge.

Another verse misunderstood to mean that Allah is with His slaves is, 'And indeed, We have created man, and We know what his own self whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.' [Soorah Qaf (50): 16] However, the very next verses clarify that the intent of, 'We' in this verse refers to the guardian angels, who record the deeds of the slave of Allah and does not refer to Allah, Himself. '(Remember) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions). Not a word does he (or she) utter but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).’

Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes in his Tafseer, '(this verse) means, His angels are nearer to man than his jugular vein. Those who explained, 'We' in the verse, to mean, 'Our Knowledge,' have done so to avoid falling into the idea of incarnation or indwelling; but these two creeds are false according to the consensus of Muslims. Allah is praised and glorified; He is far hallowed beyond what they ascribe to Him. The words of this verse do not need this explanation (that 'We' refers to 'Allah's Knowledge'), for Allah did not say, 'and I am closer to him than his jugular vein.' Rather, He said, 'And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.' Just as He said in the case of the dying person, 'But We are nearer to him than you, but you see not.' [Soorah al-Waqi'ah (56): 85]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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